For all the hype surrounding the Bears’ newly revamped offense, they sure got off to a rocky start against the Indianapolis Colts in their Week-1 season opener, finishing their first five plays with negative 11 yards, a sack, an incomplete pass, a false start penalty, and a pick-six.
But, Cutler and the rest of the offense remained calm and turned things around in a hurry, ultimately defeating the Colts 41-21 at Soldier Field.
(Last time the Bears scored 41 points in a season opener was in 1986 over the Cleveland Browns.)
Cutler finished the day 21 of 35 for 333 yards, two touchdown passes, and one interception. His passer efficiency rating was a 98.9. Jay was able to connect through the air with Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, Forte and Hester before all was said and done, but it was the old Denver connection that impressed the most.
Brandon Marshall was targeted 15 times through the game, pulling down nine passes for 119 yards, and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffery was good for three catches for 80 yards, one being a 42-yard strike in the middle of the endzone for a TD.
Bears’ running back Matt Forte had a nice opener as well, notching 80 yards and a TD on the ground from 16 carries and pulling down three receptions for another 40 yards. Michael Bush carried the ball 12 times for 42 yards and two TDs.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears came away with four turnovers (3 INTs and one forced fumble recovery). Corey Wootton notched the forced fumble, while Julius Peppers recovered the ball. Chris Conte came away with an interception through the air, while Tim Jennings leaped for two himself.
The Bears’ defensive line notched three sacks (Henry Melton had two, Corey Wootton had one) and five QB hits, keeping rookie QB Andrew Luck on his toes and on the run.
What does it all add up to? A statement, really. A statement that these Bears are not your daddy’s variety. This team showed the potential to be the most balanced team in the National Football League if they can continue to improve, play fundamental football, and stay relatively healthy.
No, I’m not trying to draw too much from one regular season game against a rebuilding Colts team, but I think many would be hard pressed to find another them in the League that boasts the kind of multi-dimensional unit the Bears can have on offense, while also having the potential to be a top defensive team as well.
Chicago is now on a short week as they will get ready to head up to Lambeau Field on Thursday night to face the Green Bay Packers.
As always, I took notes throughout the game . . . here are a few:
- Underlined three times in said notes was the rookie fullback/tight end Evan Rodriguez. One of my biggest (and secret) fears heading into this season after the Bears traded Tyler Clutts was that Forte could be in for a drop in production. If you were watching what I watched last season, it was Clutts who always seemed to be there to spring Forte for huge gains during the 2011 season. But it was Evan Rodriguez who did it today. Not taking anything away from Forte, but kudos to the kid.
- CB Charles Tillman suffered a lower leg injury during the game and did not return. It’s unclear how extensive the injury is, but we’ll find out this week as the Bears get back to practice. On the bright side, veteran Kelvin Hayden filled in nicely for the injured corner, but the Bears will want to get Peanut back into the mix as soon as possible.
- We have yet to see the Kellen Davis package we’ve been wanting to see. Davis’ role in the gameplan today was mostly to come in and help block, but he missed far too many to feel comfortable with him moving forward. I’m off the bandwagon until I see him perform well consistently.
- Brandon Marshall Package >Devin Hester Package.
- Brian Urlacher looked a bit out of game shape, as he admitted he might be. I found him getting tied up on blocks all too often when he should have been in position to make a play on the ball. All-in-all, we didn’t see much from the veteran linebacker on his return to the game, but as long as he can stay healthy, I imagine he’ll get back into game shape/rhythm soon enough.
- How could we make it through our Week-1 postgame report and not have a word on the Bears’ first round draft selection? Shea McClellin saw more and more reps as the game went on, and he had some pressure at times—he was credited with one QB hit. But the fact remains that we need to see more from Shea each and every game. Let’s hope we do against the Pack this week.
Filed under: Post Game Report